Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Keeping the Goats Warm

In the winter, I pile straw in the goat shelter to keep them warm.  Straw provides excellent insulation; much better than shavings.
Whiskey and Cowboy waiting for me to unload the new straw

I have to add more straw every month because they eat their bedding.  They have green grass and they eat the same hay as the horses, but they would rather eat dry, brown straw.
Little Bear sampling the new straw

I pile it high on the top and sides of their igloos to provide insulation.  I also make a deep pile in the back for the goats to burrow into when the wind blows.
Piling straw around the igloos

There are three igloos and four goats.  One of the igloos is quite small and I'm not sure that it gets used much, if at all.  The straw inside is not matted down into a comfortable bed like in the others.
The igloos before I added new straw

I really need to get a bigger igloo -- but they cost a fortune.  I'm thinking maybe a large dog house would work.
Thistle sampling the staw piled in the back of their shelter

4 comments:

  1. The goats are adorable. Figures they'd eat the brown straw instead of the good stuff. Maybe they think the straw is the good stuff though. Hard to figure animals out sometimes.

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  2. You treat your goats so well. My first two wethers were spoiled like that, and they also ate their straw bedding. Sadly, I lost them to urinary calculi and it BROKE my heart in pieces. (I fed them Goat Chow, too--which may have been the culprit.) I got some more goats and I let them run free with the horses and have access to the barn--or whatever they want. They eat with the horses and catch the droppings from their pelleted feeds. They buck me away from the horses all the time as if I'm an intruder--so we don't have a very good relationship. My first ones would always run to me, jumping in the air. My second batchers--the unfriendly buckers--are 11 years old now!! How long do they live??

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    1. Our goats, like your first batch, are spoiled with affection. We got them as babies and did the whole bottle feeding thing -- Bear thinks he should still able to lay in Brett's lap. I think ours are 7ish now. Our vet said that if they make it past five without dying from urinary calculi (super common in wethers), then they can live to be 10-15 years old. We don't give our goats anything except hay (and straw) and a mineral supplement. Our vet put the fear of God in us relative to alfalfa or goat chow -- meant for lactating does only. Thank goodness she did that or we would probably have killed them with kindness, thinking we were doing the best thing.

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    2. Sounds like a small-medium dog's length. Thanks for that info. I sure wish the breeder had warned us about UC when we bought our first goats. They were also bottle-fed babies and I became deeply attached.

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.